Middle Eastern countries are rapidly working towards strengthening renewable energy infrastructure, and Jordan is the latest one to announce plans to add substantial capacity over the next few years.
The energy minister of Jordan recently announced that the country is expected to commission about 1,800 MW of wind and solar power capacity by 2018. This includes 200 MW of solar power projects, for which power purchase agreements have already been signed. The developers are looking to achieve financial closure for these projects.
The government is looking to give equal preference to wind and solar power technologies. A 117 MW wind energy project is under development while the government prepares to accept offers for 250 MW of additional wind energy capacity. By the end of the year, the government will call upon prospective project developers to submit additional 200 MW of solar power capacity.
The government is working to promote renewable energy projects with an aim to reduce financial burden on the national utility, National Electric Power Company (NEPCO). The company is reeling under loss of $1.9 billion. Jordan also has a target to have at least 10% contribution from renewable energy sources to the country’s energy mix by 2020.
The importance of renewable energy development cannot be overstated for a country like Jordan. The kingdom is heavily dependent on energy imports, and has to buy 97% of its energy requirement from other countries. In 2010, Jordan spent $3.6 billion, or 13.5% of its GDP, on energy imports.
To reach the 2020 renewable energy target and further enhance clean energy infrastructure the country has established the Jordan Renewable Energy and Efficiency Fund which is financed by the government as well as international donors like the French Development Agency and the World Bank.
Image credit: Ymousa | CC BY-SA 3.0